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Beginners Guide To Stargazing

I will release several updates for this post over time. The thing I would like to start with is budget. No matter what you already know and what you desire, you cannot do anything without a telescope. So question is, how much can you afford?

Very high quality telescopes are very expensive, huge and can be rather complicated. They’re amazing at what they do and they can show you things you cannot see with a cheap telescope. But the thing is that when you’re just starting out you don’t know better anyway. Discovering things with cheaper telescope while you’re still an amateur will be just as exciting with higher priced one. Perhaps you won’t be able to see distant nebulas and all sorts of things but discovering exactly how the moon looks like, learning about Jupiter and stars of milky way is what you can do, and in my opinion the most fun thing to do. Now when I say an amateur telescope I don’t mean from children department.

First of all your telescope must have a solid, steady, and smooth working mount. The second is high-quality, “diffraction-limited” optics. The one that I would recommend is Orion’s XT8, an 8″ Dobsonian reflector. Its 8″ diameter reflector optics lets you view the Moon and planets in close up detail, and has enough light grasp to pull in pleasing views of faint nebulas, galaxies and star clusters. Its of great quality, very stable and if you ever need an upgrade you just buy a quality Eyepiece. But more about that in the next update.

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How I Got Into Stargazing

My interest in stargazing came to me at a very young age, I suppose mainly because of the fact my mother is an theoretical astrophysicist. Plus living on the perfect spot helps as well.

When I was 8 year old my parents divorced and it was a very difficult time. But something changed and perhaps for the better, my mother started spending a lot of time with me and eventually me my very first telescope and slowly started to teach me about constellations and all kind of interesting facts for which I had no idea if they were true at the time. I became insanely interested in watching the night sky and wanted to know everything there is about space. I loved watching the stars so much that for every essay we were allowed to choose what we want to write about, I wrote about stars. I wanted to have my mothers job when I grew up, who wouldn’t want to work on something they love after all? I still have a pretty long way to reach that dream but I have learned a lot over the years. Plus with my mother backing me up with her experiences is pretty much like cheating my way into the profession :D

Back then things were very different, you could say stargazing was very private. Today with all the new technology we not only get to share our thoughts and opinions but we can share what we see through our telescopes with people all over the world. And that’s where this site comes in.

Welcome to my humble home, my Astro Place.

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Looking Forward to Vega, and Growing a Beard

One of the brightest stars in the sky (besides the sun of course) is a star called Vega. On September 4th, Vega will be reaching the zenith point, which is the point in the sky directly overhead.  I found a great online guide that shows people exactly what is happening in the sky every night. This sort of guide is great for beginner astronomers; it gives them a certain feature to focus on and points out changes every night.

Mom and I went to the local general store the other day. I love this store, if you go on Fridays you can see all the people that are coming to the area to camp and stargaze during the weekends.  I’ve noticed that the hobby has really picked up, and it makes me so happy to see more and more people be excited about the universe. The general store tries to stock products that are trendy and yet rugged.  I noticed some beard oil from beardbrand and mustache wax.  I don’t have a beard or a mustache but I thought they were rather interesting products.

All these new products in the store have got me thinking about growing a beard of my own.  I feel like beards are a sign of masculinity, and at the same time whenever I see a man with a beard I think, “That man likes the outdoors.”  I like the outdoors and I’d like to feel more masculine, so I think I will be attempting to grow a beard.

It will be interesting to see how some facial hair changes people’s opinions of me.  Will they think I’m more attractive?  Will they think that I’m more masculine?  Will I be more relatable to people who enjoy gazing at stars as much as I do?

I guess I’ll find out the answers to all these questions in a couple of weeks, or months.  I don’t actually know how long it will take me to grow a beard, I’ve never tried before.

My mom approached me with an awesome idea.  She wants to build a few rugged cabins on our land and rent them out to beginning astronomers and we can run workshops on the weekends.  There is something that is so fulfilling about sharing your passion with others.  We’ve been trying to think of different ways to make it work.  We’re thinking that we’ll have people arrive Friday’s during the day. That first night we’ll make a great meal for everyone over the campfire and we’ll spend the rest of the night looking out the observatory telescope.  On Saturdays well have a community breakfast and after breakfast we’ll have a workshop about how to expertly operate telescopes and how to use star maps and all that. At night we will focus on different astronomical features.  Sunday we’ll have a farewell lunch and hopefully people will have had a great time and learn a lot about stargazing.

We will probably start with about two prefabricated cabins and probably create four or five different campsites in the wooded area of our land.  I have a friend who is really into foraging for food and I’m thinking that might be a fun workshop.  Maybe one weekend every few months or so, we’ll have foraging by day and stargazing at night workshops.  I know I’m thinking too far ahead, but I’m just so excited about this “Astronomy Bed and Breakfast.”

We’ve been trying to think of different names for our business, but we haven’t come up with anything clever or catchy enough.  If I have a good idea my mom shoots it down, and if she has a good idea I shoot it down. We’re not trying to be argumentative; we just want to have the best idea ever.

Sometimes, when I’m in the general store on Fridays, I approach people that are coming to the area to stargaze and ask them if they would like an idea like this.  I have received nothing but positive responses from everyone I’ve talked to. They may just be being polite, but they seem genuinely interested in the idea. I wonder if they will be even more receptive to me once I’ve grown my beard.

I Used a Website Broker to Sell an Old Blog

I don’t have much news today, but I just sold an old blog of mine with a website broker. I’m not gonna say how much I sold for, but it was a pretty good amount of money… enough for me to buy some new equipment!

A lot of people asked me how the whole website broker thing works, so I’m gonna share with you guys. That way, if you have a blog you wanna sell, you can do it the right way, and not get ripped off. A buddy of mine works at Digital Exits which is basically a website brokerage firm. You get your website appraised, and they connect your site with potential buyers. If someone’s interested, then they negotiate the price and get back to you when they’ve secured a deal.

They get paid on commission so it’s really cool to know that they’re trying to sell your website at the BEST possible price. This is as opposed to more common marketplaces like Flippa, where everyone’s lowballing because they want to get the best deal. There are tonnes of people literally making their living flipping websites, and they live on places like Flippa, but it will never be the same as nurturing a site for years and building up consistent income streams, A strong community and and even stronger list.

You see, buyers love data, and it takes time to really build up a valid list of subscribers (at least in the few thousand). The fact that I had all 3 of those, meant my site was good enough for a website brokerage. Their clients are no joke. They want the real thing, and they are willing to pay for it.

Anyway, enough about that, I just wanted to also let you guys know that my mom has almost finished the observatory, so I’m gonna use the money I made from selling my old site, to deck the room out and get some new equipment including my Meade RCX400 20.0”/508mm Telescope. I’m not 100% sure what else I’m gonna get yet, but I’ll definitely let you guys know what I decide to do.

Til next time!

Traveling

mauna_kea.jpgOne month ago my mother told me to prepare my nerves and that I am going to experience how it is to drive in a plane in two weeks. I was kind of terrified by the idea of flying in a giant pile of metal, but I suppose things that are new to us can be quite scary.
She didn’t want to answer where we are going, it was a surprise. To be honest she have the best surprises you can imagine so I was really looking forward towards whatever she was planing this time.

Two weeks passed fast and as we arrived to the airport I realized we are going to Hawaii! That was amazing, a surprise vacation. I told her how I can hardly wait to start swimming, but her response was that we might not have time for that. So why the hell would we go to Hawaii if not to enjoy ourselves in the ocean?

As we arrived to Hawaii in that shaky and rather scary airplane (my hands were dead tired from clenching when we arrived) we went straight to rent a car and drove towards a huge mountain. She said it was an inactive volcano named Mauna Kea and that we will be going straight to the summit which is 14,000 feet higher than the water level. The little gears in my head started turning and I remembered.. Mauna Kea… world’s largest astronomical observatory. Suffice to say I couldn’t control myself and was even more excited then before.

We stayed for their nightly stargazing program at The Visitor Information Station which was amazing and their staff was very knowledgeable. I think even my mother learned couple of things.

After a good night sleep we went for the summit, which introduced me to altitude sickness. The sudden change in oxygen levels and climate were rather shocking. The trip was a fantastic experience.

Home Expansion

We have started a “little” project of expanding our house. My mother hired a designer who finished recently and now we are looking for a contractor. We are building a mini stargazing observatory as part of our home!

I am so excited about this that I just had to write about it. Can you imagine having your own observatory? Actually forget the observatory, you know what will be IN the observatory? Meade RCX400 20.0”/508mm Telescope. I cannot wait to get my hands on that beast.

But naturally first the house, so it will take a little while. We expanded our house once before when I was very young now that I think about it, actually the place where I am sitting right now was a garden once upon a time.

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Update:
So the work has finally begun and there’s noise from machines all day long. It would be unbearable if I didn’t realize what will come out of all that hard work the guys are doing. There was a little accident and they damaged a wall and broke a window two days ago, but they will take care of the damages so all is well. I’ll make sure to add some pictures in the next update!

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My Equipment

While I had a very humble gear when I’ve began stargazing over the years as my knowledge and desires grew I needed a better equipment. So here’s what I have today.

My telescope actually just got a huge upgrade couple of months ago, when I received a very big package for my birthday. I wondering what the hell could be inside, could it be a prank, a huge TV perhaps? I was stumped when I realized it was a Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Dobsian Telescope. Holy ****¨! Best birthday ever.

Till then I had Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope which seemed amazing to me. I could see all the little crates on the moon with it, the detail of Jupiter was incredible. I could even see a few distant galaxies from the comfort of my little room. After having a first look through SkyQuest I was simply stunned. You could say I stargazmed.

The Dobson mount is very smooth, and oh my god the IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator.. fantastic! Its very accurate and includes over 14 000 objects in its database. Amazing piece of technology.

This couldn’t get any better right?
Well as it turns out it can! Recently I have purchased TeleVue eyepiece and the improvement is staggering.

This telescope and eyepiece is everything an amateur stargazer could wish for. I don’t think there will be much improvement over next couple of years.

So what kind of equipment are you guys using? Comment below.